Around the Watershed: News and Events

Rainbow Trout Study Concludes

Posted on: December 14th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Researchers from the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey (USGS), NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, and the firm Eco­Logic con­cluded a study look­ing for one poten­tial cause of recent Rain­bow Trout pop­u­la­tion declines in the Ashokan Watershed.

The study was launched when the num­ber of Rain­bow Trout in the upper Eso­pus Creek, a major trib­u­tary drain­ing into the Ashokan Reser­voir, showed a pre­cip­i­tous drop between 2009 and 2013.

One poten­tial cause for the decline was the estab­lish­ment of two inva­sive fish in the reser­voir — the Alewife estab­lished in the 1970s and White Perch in the 2000s. Both species are not native to the Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed and have the poten­tial to change the type and abun­dance of food avail­able to other fish, includ­ing Rain­bow Trout.

Rainbow Trout captured in the upper Esopus Creek by Ed Ostapczuk.

Rain­bow Trout cap­tured in the upper Eso­pus Creek by Ed Ostapczuk.

The researchers did an analy­sis of fish caught in the Ashokan Reser­voir over the past 70 years, look­ing at the rate of Rain­bow Trout growth before and after Alewife and White Perch became established.

Sur­pris­ingly, the growth of Rain­bow Trout appeared to increase over recent decades. The largest increases in both growth and con­di­tion of Rain­bow Trout were observed after the intro­duc­tion of White Perch. This was unex­pected con­sid­er­ing White Perch should be poor prey for Rain­bow Trout and may also com­pete with Rain­bow Trout for food.

The researchers did not con­clude that White Perch in the reser­voir ben­e­fit­ted Rain­bow Trout. Instead, other changes in the water­shed and its ecol­ogy may have affected the growth and con­di­tion of Rain­bow Trout over the decades.

Future research and man­age­ment may focus on iden­ti­fy­ing, pro­tect­ing, and restor­ing areas in which Rain­bow Trout spawn.

In fur­ther good news, annual elec­trofish­ing sur­veys at six sites on the Eso­pus Creek and its trib­u­taries have shown that Rain­bow Trout spawned very suc­cess­fully over the past few years, accord­ing to George.

The AWSMP pro­vided fund­ing for this study through a Stream Man­age­ment Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram (SMIP) grant. A peer-reviewed arti­cle on the study was pub­lished in the Octo­ber 2018 issue of the North Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Fish­eries Man­age­ment. For more infor­ma­tion see https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10203.

Floodplain Manager Trainings Start in January

Posted on: November 30th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker
CCEUC Educator Brent Gotsch is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), a certification recognized both nationally and by the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Gotsch offers a free course in the NYC Watershed on preparing to become a CFM.

CCEUC Edu­ca­tor Brent Gotsch is a Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager (CFM), a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion rec­og­nized both nation­ally and by the Asso­ci­a­tion of State Flood­plain Man­agers. Gotsch offers a free course in the NYC Water­shed on prepar­ing to become a CFM.

Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County (CCEUC) and the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram will host a series of train­ings early next year to pre­pare local offi­cials to take the Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­agers (CFM) exam­i­na­tion. CCEUC Resource Edu­ca­tor, Brent Gotsch, who is a Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager, will be lead­ing the trainings.

Code Enforce­ment Offi­cers and other town offi­cials ben­e­fit from becom­ing CFMs. A high level of knowl­edge about the National Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram and asso­ci­ated flood­plain reg­u­la­tions is needed to obtain the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Through its train­ings, CCEUC has helped 12 local offi­cials pre­pare for and pass the CFM exam.

The train­ings are free of charge and held weekly from Jan­u­ary to April at the Shan­daken Town Hall. Any­one located in a New York City West of Hud­son Water­shed com­mu­nity is eli­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate. While per­son­nel from town or vil­lage build­ing depart­ments are most likely to ben­e­fit from the train­ing, other munic­i­pal offi­cials can as well. Plan­ning Board mem­bers, High­way Super­in­ten­dents, and Town Super­vi­sors have all taken the train­ing and gone on to earn their CFM.

If you are a munic­i­pal offi­cial in the New York City West of Hud­son Water­shed and are inter­ested in tak­ing this train­ing, please con­tact Brent Gotsch at 845–688-3047 or via email at bwg37@cornell.edu. Train­ings are expected to begin early in Jan­u­ary 2019 and run weekly until about mid-April.

Anglers Symposium on November 9th

Posted on: October 30th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

Ron-Nev Anglers Symposium 2018

Our friends and col­leagues with the Rondout-Neversink Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram will be hold­ing their 5th Annual Angler’s Sym­po­sium at the Claryville Event Cen­ter at the Blue Hill Lodge located at 1471 Den­ning Road on Fri­day, Novem­ber 9th from 1:00–4:00pm. This is a great pro­gram for any­one who is inter­ested in the Catskill region fishery.

Head­lin­ing this year’s sym­po­sium will be his­to­rian Diane Galusha who will speak about Edwin Hewitt, an author and nat­u­ral­ist whose prop­erty along the Nev­ersink River inspired him to write his Hand­book of Stream Improve­ment and Secrets of Salmon.

Also pre­sent­ing will be Shaun McAdams from Trout Unlim­ited who will describe his work with wild brook trout in New York and Penn­syl­va­nia. In addi­tion, Carri Marschner and Char­lotte Malm­borg of Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity will speak about cit­i­zen sci­ence oppor­tu­ni­ties to help save hem­lock trees. Hem­locks are vitally impor­tant ripar­ian tree species that are under threat from cli­mate change and inva­sive species like the hem­lock woolly adel­gid. There will also be a walk­ing tour of a nearby stream­bank restora­tion project.

For more infor­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter please visit the Rondout-Neversink Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram website.

Attend the 2018 CERM Conference

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

CERM Dates

The 2018 Catskill Envi­ron­men­tal Research & Mon­i­tor­ing (CERM) con­fer­ence is an oppor­tu­nity for researchers and nat­ural resource man­agers to inter­act around the lat­est obser­va­tions of aquatic, ter­res­trial, and atmos­pheric con­di­tions in the Catskill moun­tain region of upstate New York.

The con­fer­ence will be Octo­ber 24–26, 2018 at the Bel­leayre Ski Resort in High­mount, NY. The con­fer­ence runs from 9:00–5:00 on Wednes­day and Thurs­day with a poster ses­sion and mixer from 5:00–7:00 on Wednes­day. A research break­fast work­shop and field trips are planned for Friday.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the con­fer­ence ends Octo­ber 19. The CERM con­fer­ence fee is $50 to attend all three days, includ­ing lunches, poster ses­sion, work­shop and field trips. Schol­ar­ships are avail­able for col­lege stu­dents to attend a Break­fast Research Work­shop. Stu­dents may request a schol­ar­ship dur­ing reg­is­tra­tion. Reg­is­ter online at: https://bit.ly/2QDd4Kw.

The three-day con­fer­ence will fea­ture 32 pre­sen­ta­tions of study results dur­ing ses­sions focused on recre­ation impacts, devel­op­ment impacts, soil/plant rela­tion­ships, bio­di­ver­sity, sed­i­ment stud­ies, hydrol­ogy, long-term mon­i­tor­ing, wildlife, and forestry. Over 20 aca­d­e­mic posters will be on dis­play dur­ing the poster ses­sion and mixer. Pre­sen­ters rep­re­sent a range of insti­tu­tions, includ­ing New York State uni­ver­si­ties, non-profit research orga­ni­za­tions, and gov­ern­ment agencies.

The con­fer­ence keynote address will be deliv­ered by Dr. Chad Daw­son, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Recre­ation Resources Man­age­ment at the SUNY Col­lege of Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence and Forestry in Syra­cuse, NY.  Dr. Daw­son will speak about mon­i­tor­ing and man­ag­ing the impacts of pub­lic use on state For­est Pre­serve lands.

For more infor­ma­tion, visit the CERM con­fer­ence web­site at http://ashokanstreams.org/conferences-training/research-conference/.

SMIP Funding Now Available

Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Fund­ing is now avail­able from the AWSMP for stream man­age­ment projects in the Ashokan Water­shed. The dead­line for appli­ca­tions is Octo­ber 19, 2018.

Not-for-profit orga­ni­za­tions and gov­ern­men­tal units may apply for project fund­ing in the cat­e­gories of:

  • Plan­ning
  • Edu­ca­tion
  • Stream-related infra­struc­ture improve­ments (see project eli­gi­bil­ity guid­ance)
  • Flood haz­ard mitigation
  • Stream restora­tion
  • Research, assess­ment and monitoring

For-profit cor­po­ra­tions are only eli­gi­ble to apply in the ‘Research, assess­ment and mon­i­tor­ing’ category.

For more infor­ma­tion on fund­ing pro­gram rules and to down­load appli­ca­tions forms, go to: http://ashokanstreams.org/projects-funding/

 

Spotted Lanternfly Discovered in New York State

Posted on: September 20th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
Spotted Lanternfly is an emerging invasive species to our region. Photo:  USDA

Spot­ted Lantern­fly is an emerg­ing inva­sive species to our region. Photo: USDA

 

Recently, the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYSDEC) and the NYS Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Mar­kets (NYSDAM) announced that Spot­ted Lantern­fly (Lycorma del­i­cat­ula) was dis­cov­ered in Albany and Yates coun­ties. So far only two sin­gle adult insects have been dis­cov­ered but the con­cern is that there could be more. First dis­cov­ered in Penn­syl­va­nia in 2014 Spot­ted Lantern­fly (SLF) has since been found in New Jer­sey, Delaware, Vir­ginia, and now New York.

SLF is an inva­sive species that is native to Asia, specif­i­cally parts of China, India, and Viet­nam. With no native preda­tors to keep its pop­u­la­tion in check, there is con­cern that SLF could have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on our native forests. Although their pri­mary source of food is the Tree of Heaven (Alianthus altissima), an inva­sive species itself which con­trary to pop­u­lar belief grows in more than just Brook­lyn, it has been known to feed on a wide vari­ety of plants includ­ing grapevine, hops, wal­nut and sev­eral types of fruit trees. This has the poten­tial to impact sev­eral multi-billion dol­lar indus­tries includ­ing grape and hop pro­duc­tion, the fruit grow­ers and log­ging. Sev­eral ripar­ian species are also at risk includ­ing maples, oaks, pines, poplars, sycamores, and wil­lows. This, cou­pled with the die-off of hem­locks and ash trees caused by Hem­lock Wooly Adel­gid and Emer­ald Ash Borer, respec­tively, could have severe con­se­quences for ripar­ian cor­ri­dor ecosys­tem health and stability.

 

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses. Photo:  USDA

Spot­ted Lantern­fly egg masses. Photo: USDA

 

SLF lay their eggs between the months of Sep­tem­ber and Decem­ber. Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like cov­er­ing that can take on a dry cracked appear­ance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30–50 brown­ish seed-like deposits in 4–7 columns on the trunk that are roughly an inch long. Eggs hatch between the months of May and June. SLF nymphs emerge and are black with bright white spots. At this stage they are roughly the size of a pen­cil eraser. Over the next sev­eral months they grow larger but main­tain their col­ors until between the months of July and Sep­tem­ber where they turn bright red with dis­tinct patches of black and bright white spots. From July through Decem­ber SLF matures into an adult that has wings that are about 1-inch-long that are grey with black spots. When the wings are opened it reveals a red underwing.

Spotted Lanternfly early stage nymphs (black) and late state nymphs (red). Photo:  USDA

Spot­ted Lantern­fly early stage nymphs (black) and late state nymphs (red). Photo: USDA

 

SLF feeds by using it mouth­parts to pierce and then suck the sap from the trunks, branches, twigs and leaves. This cre­ates a weep­ing wound of sap. As it digests the sap, SLF secretes a sub­stance known as hon­ey­dew. This com­bined with the flow­ing sap tends to col­lect at the base of the trunk and pro­vides a fer­tile area for the growth of fungi and mold that may stunt plant growth or even cause pre­ma­ture death. It may also attract bees, wasps, ants and other insects to the site, fur­ther stress­ing the plant.

If you think you have SLF on your prop­erty please take a pho­to­graph of either the nymph, adult insect, egg mass, or infes­ta­tion sign along with an item for scale (such as coin or ruler) and email them to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov. Be sure to note the loca­tion includ­ing address, inter­sect­ing road, land­marks or GPS coor­di­nates. Also report the infes­ta­tion to iMap­In­va­sives.

For more infor­ma­tion on SLF be sure to visit the NYSDEC Web­site on SLF as well as web­sites devoted to SLF on the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Penn State Exten­sion websites.

Adult Spotted Lanternfly. Photo:  USDA

Adult Spot­ted Lantern­fly. Photo: USDA

AWSMP at Olive Day 2018

Posted on: September 4th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

AWSMP will be attend­ing this year’s Olive Day on Sep­tem­ber 8 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Lester Daivs Park located at 686 Wat­son Hol­low Road in West Shokan, NY (right next door to the Olive Town Hall). Olive Day is an annual event that cel­e­brates all the things that make the Town of Olive a spe­cial place to live. There will be food, live music, a vari­ety of ven­dors, local and regional orga­ni­za­tions with edu­ca­tional dis­plays, and activ­i­ties for chil­dren and fam­i­lies includ­ing the always pop­u­lar frog race!

AWSMP will have a table with pro­gram lit­er­a­ture as well as an edu­ca­tional dis­play. We will also be bring­ing our stream table. The stream table shows how water inter­acts with and shapes the land­scape around it. It also shows how human inter­ven­tion in streams can change how water flows and the shape and depth of the stream.

Stop on by to see the stream table in action, pick up some lit­er­a­ture and say hi. We look for­ward to see­ing you at this year’s Olive Day!

AWSMP Youth Educator Matt Savatgy uses the stream table to show youth how manipulation of the stream channel can cause changes in the surrounding landscape during Olive Day 2017.

AWSMP Youth Edu­ca­tor Matt Savatgy uses the stream table to show youth how manip­u­la­tion of the stream chan­nel can cause changes in the sur­round­ing land­scape dur­ing Olive Day 2017.

 

Register Now for Contractor Training

Posted on: August 27th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

The DEC requires all devel­op­ers, con­trac­tors, and sub­con­trac­tors to iden­tify at least one trained indi­vid­ual from their com­pany to be respon­si­ble for stormwa­ter and pol­lu­tion pre­ven­tion plan imple­men­ta­tion and on-site daily when there is a soil dis­tur­bance activ­ity. To ful­fill that require­ment, reg­is­ter now for a 4-hour train­ing course cov­er­ing the prin­ci­pals and prac­tices of ero­sion and sed­i­ment con­trol on con­struc­tion sites. The NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) and the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict are part­ner­ing to offer the train­ing. The Ulster County course will be held Novem­ber 14, 2018 from 9:00am to 1:00pm at the Ulster County Com­mu­nity Col­lege. Pre-payment of $50 and pre-registration is required. Reg­is­ter by Novem­ber 2. Find reg­is­tra­tion forms and more infor­ma­tion at: http://ucswcd.org

Riparian Buffer Grand Opening!

Posted on: August 27th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Join the Catskill Cen­ter and the AWSMP at the Mau­rice D. Hinchey Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter (CIC) on Thurs­day, August 30 from 12pm — 1pm for the Grand Open­ing of a ripar­ian buffer! The buffer is located along a small forested stream at the back of the CIC park­ing lot. Meet for a rib­bon cut­ting at the trail bridge where the buffer is located. Streams ben­e­fit in mul­ti­ple ways from hav­ing native veg­e­ta­tion on their bor­ders. This buffer fea­tures Catskill native species and inter­preted sig­nage that iden­ti­fies the plants and explains the impor­tance of stream­side veg­e­ta­tion. The buffer was installed with the help of vol­un­teers who worked hard to clear inva­sive plants from the site. The buffer will con­tinue to be main­tained by vol­un­teers, who are gath­er­ing before the grand open­ing from 9am — 12pm for another Inva­sive Plant Pull! Bring your fam­ily and friends to learn more about how you can main­tain clean, cool Catskills water on your property.

Staff from the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict (SWCD) will be on hand to answer your ques­tions. The native plant buffer was planned and installed by the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive, a pro­gram of the Ulster SWCD and NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Protection.

 

Bankfull Flows on Friday

Posted on: August 20th, 2018 by Tim Koch

On the evening of Fri­day, August 17th, 2018 some­thing very impor­tant hap­pened in the world of stream sci­ence and man­age­ment. The Eso­pus Creek, Birch Creek, and Wood­land Creek reached “bank­full discharge”.

Bank­full dis­charge is the amount of water flow­ing in the stream when the chan­nel is com­pletely filled to the brim, mea­sured in cubic feet per sec­ond (cfs). At bank­full, all the water is still con­tained within the chan­nel. Once bank­full has been exceeded, water spills out onto the flood­plain and the stream is tech­ni­cally flood­ing. The pho­to­graph below shows the Stony Clove Creek at near bank­full flow. The  unde­vel­oped flood­plain vis­i­ble on the left is acces­si­ble to the stream and ready to accept any flood waters in excess of bankfull.

(a)bkf2(b)Stony Clove headwater close to bankfull

(a) Stream cross sec­tion show­ing bank­full stage, (b). the head­wa­ters of Stony Clove Creek flow­ing at ~800 cfs, approach­ing bankfull

In the humid north­east, most streams will see a bank­full flow event every 1.5 years on aver­age. The last time we saw a bank­full flow in the Ashokan water­shed was Octo­ber 2017.

If any flow over bank­full means that the stream is flood­ing, then we can expect our rivers and streams to flood at least once every year and half. This is nat­ural, sta­ble stream behav­ior and high­lights the impor­tance of flood­plain management.

Bank­full dis­charge is crit­i­cal to stream man­agers because over time it is the flow that moves the largest amount of sed­i­ment, effec­tively shap­ing and main­tain­ing the chan­nel form. Due to the impor­tance of bank­full dis­charge for chan­nel main­te­nance, some of the research projects that we fund at AWSMP have trig­gers that are acti­vated fol­low­ing bank­full flow events.

Below is a chart that com­pares the stream flows observed on Fri­day the 17th (far right) to bank­full dis­charge. The Q1.5 col­umn is an esti­mated bank­full dis­charge based on sta­tis­tics. This is a use­ful esti­mate for bank­full when field derived val­ues are not avail­able. The most accu­rate way to deter­mine bank­full dis­charge is to read the stream. A well-trained eye can locate bank­full indi­ca­tors in the field such as depo­si­tional fea­tures or changes in bank slope, veg­e­ta­tion, and par­ti­cle size. By using these indi­ca­tors as a guide to mea­sure the dimen­sions of the stream chan­nel, highly accu­rate bank­full dis­charge val­ues can be cal­cu­lated (mid­dle column).

 

USGS Gage Station

Q1.5 (cfs) Cal­i­brated Qbkf (cfs)

Qmax 8/17/18 (cfs)

Eso­pus Creek at Allaben

2,524 2,772 2,950

Eso­pus Creek at Coldbrook

10,343

7,069

12,000

Birch Creek at Big Indian 287 331

588

Wood­land Creek above Phoenicia 1,650 -

1,720

 

Q1.5 = sta­tis­ti­cally cal­cu­lated flow that occurs roughly every 1.5 years, often used a sub­sti­tute for field-calibrated bank­full discharge

Cal­i­brated Qbkf = field cal­i­brated bank­full discharge

Qmax = instan­ta­neous peak flow mea­sure­ment from Fri­day, August 17th, 2018